PERKINSTON — Coming off back-to-back 19-7 seasons, Mississippi Gulf Coast men's basketball coach Wendell Weathers has another talented group of Bulldogs on his 2017-18 roster.
This squad needs to get quickly acclimated to his system and get more consistent. They hit the court for their first real game Friday when the William Carey JV visits the Weathers/Wentzell Center. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.
"We're making a lot of mistakes, uncharacteristic and unforced mistakes," Weathers said. "A lot of it has to do with our youth and our inexperience. Right now, we've got a true freshman point guard who's been thrown into the fire. He's doing a good job but has a ton to learn."
Injuries have shuffled the lineup at the start of the season, with transfer point guard Abdul Dial (So, West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) working his way back into action. He's a former player in the Big East.
"We've converted him to point guard," Weathers said. "In his high school career and at St. John's, he was an off guard, but we saw him with size, ball-handling and athleticism, we thought the best place for him was at the point. We have not been disappointed."
With him out, the Bulldogs are counting on LaRaymond Spivery (Fr, Lucedale/George County) to fill in at the start of the season. The former two-sport star shows promise.
"We're very high on LaRaymond Spivery," Weathers said. "We think he's going to contribute a lot as a freshman, and even more as a sophomore."
Dedoch Chan (Fr, Rochester, Minn./John Marshall) is a newcomer who brings Division I potential to Perkinston. He transferred before his senior year in high school and missed some time while his eligibility was straightened out. The forward was also on a super-talented squad with a couple of other D-I prospects.
"He's a big strong guard-oriented, 6-7 kid that has a world of potential," Weathers said. "He's just got to learn to play against this competition which is going to be a big and strong as he is every day."
There are also a pair of projects on the list of newcomers. DaJuan Moorer (Fr, Pensacola, Fla./Pensacola Catholic) had an injury in high school and played football at Garden City Community College last year. He's a 6-foot-8 player who plays above the rim.
It will be about knocking the rust off him and freshman forward Tavonn Tyson (Fr, Biloxi/Biloxi), who has been out of basketball a couple years. He's another talented player who can play the 2 or 3.
Gulf Coast returns one starter from last year, Qua'darius Green (So, McComb/McComb).
"He started every game for us," Weathers said. "We've got four other kids who played or contributed in backup roles."
Josh Ross (Fr, Mendenhall/Mendenhall) didn't play last season because of injury but has returned a better player.
"Our returning group is a solid core group," Weathers said. "They're good guys, smart guys. They know the system. Hopefully, they'll be good leaders for these new guys coming in."
He said the newcomers are learning the offense like toddlers learning to walk. The Bulldogs want to be running pretty quick during the new season.
"We think we've got a really talented bunch, but we've got a bunch of new players," Weathers said. "They're inexperienced in our system. Hopefully, we can have some early success even if we're not playing well. That will let us gain confidence, to learn as we grown."
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